Just one day before, he was rehearsing, and then he was dead on a hospital gurney. This is what the images of Michael Jackson told the court on Tuesday, marking a harrowing opening to the homicide trial of his last doctor, Conrad Murray.


Dr. Conrad Murray's trial began with the Defense Attorney showing a picture of a dead Michael Jackson lying on a gurney with his eyes closed, mouth open and tape between his lips and nose. (Photo: Court Evidence)

According to prosecutor David Walgren, the King of Pop  literally put his life in the hands of Dr. Conrad Murray, who was paid $150,000 a month to care for Jackson.

That misplaced trust in the hands of Conrad Murray cost Michael Jackson his life, Walgren said in opening arguments 27 months after Jackson's death by drug overdose of propofol and sedatives.

On the other hand, Murray's lawyers argued that it was Jackson who caused his own death. To get sleep, he gave himself extra medication, which turned fatal for him.

He died so rapidly, so instantly, he didn't even have time to close his eyes, defense attorney Ed Chernoff said in opening arguments.

Murray, who was in tears during Tuesday's opening statements, denied the charge of involuntary manslaughter of Jackson on June 25, 2009. But he did admit that he gave 50-year-old Jackson a dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. If convicted, Murray will face prison sentence of up to four years, Reuters reported.

Jackson's body was found at his Los Angeles mansion just three weeks before a series of 50 planned London comeback concerts titled This Is It.

According to Kenny Ortega, the co-director of the concerts, on June 19, Jackson came to the rehearsals in Los Angeles in a worried state. He seemed chilled, lost and incoherent.

But four days later on June 24, he was back again in full of energy, full of desire to work, full of enthusiasm, and the next day he was dead, Ortega said.

Chernoff said that when Murray left the room, Jackson gave himself eight lorazepam anti-anxiety pills in the early hours of June 25 to get some sleep. But because he still could not sleep, he added propofol. Jackson got frustrated and was under pressure to make it to the concerts, Chernoff said.

On Tuesday, Walgren showed jurors a photo of a thin, dead Jackson lying on a hospital gurney. He also played the last video of Jackson, rehearsing for Earth Song on June 24, 2009.

Tuesday's trial was attended by Jackson's parents, Joe and Katherine, his sisters, Janet and La Toya, and other family members. Outside the courtroom, dozens of fans held sunflowers, pictures of the pop star, and placards saying, I was murdered, seek the truth and Murray took his money, then took his life.